N.Y. Bar Faces Liability in Fatal Pedestrian Accident | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Many states–notably North Carolina (NC) and West Virginia (WV)–permit victims of alcohol-related car accidents and injuries to sue bars and restaurant which served the person who became intoxicated.

A unique application of liability under what are commonly known as “dram shop laws” was recently upheld in northern New York (NY). In essence, an appeals court ruled in August that a man could sue a bowling alley because his wife was killed when a sheriff’s deputy rolled over the woman.

I can’t resist into going into the details.

The plaintiff, Christopher Oursler, admits to having bought two beers for wife during a Halloween night party Mallwitz’s Island Lanes. Ms. Oursler seems to have consumed much more alcohol than that, as several friends also attended the party and the bowling alley provided free JELL-O shots.

Later that night, Ms. Oursler needed a ride to her mother’s house because Mr. Oursler had gotten injured in a fight and was taken to the police station, and then to the hospital. Ms. Oursler began walking along a rural highway to find her husband, and was then struck by a sober driver, whom Mr. Oursler is also suingĀ  When the sober driver reported the accident more than an hour later, the responding deputy ran over Ms. Oursler.

The deputy could not see Oursler because she was still wearing the black witch’s costume she had worn to the party.

As I wrote, this is a unique application of the dram shop law, but it highlights for the need for businesses that sell or provide alcohol to ensure that patrons do not become excessively intoxicated.

About the Editors: Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers. Lawyers with Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan are licensed in VA, NC, SC, WV, DC and KY. They handle car, truck, railroad, medical negligence cases and more.